Everyone has a special gift. Mine is two-part harmony farting*.
Now, after 11 years of marriage, I have identified Hank's special gift. She can destroy the crap out of any cell phone.
I've seen her dunk them into the bathtub. I've seen her hurl them to the ground with such regularity that you'd swear she was dribbling them, as though the WNBA was holding tryouts, cellphone-style. I've driven around town looking for her lost cell phones, and when all else fails she just gets them stolen.
A friend of mine kept the same cell phone for more than 8 years. I've seen Hank go through a Treo 650 in something close to 8 days.
What really makes this story tragic (or comic, based on your frame of reference) is that Hank has an exceedingly low tolerance for being screwed with, the hallmark of cell phone company customer service.
Pizza places that lie about their delivery are pizza-non-grata in perpetuity. Car companies that employ sexist salesmen are boycotted for decades. There is no forgiveness in her heart for companies that do not treat her with honesty or respect.
I don't argue with her about these things (any more). First, I learned my lesson long ago, and second, she's got a good point. Why engage in commerce with a company that screws you?
However, when it comes to cell phone companies, there's a huge flaw in her strategy. ALL cell phone companies treat you like dirt. Dishonesty is part of their business plans. Disrespect is highlighted in their mission statements. Their networks are literally powered by proprietary generators that feed on wide-eyed customer innocence and kindness.
So, if you're going to be constantly destroying cell phones, but you want to, you know, keep making cell phone calls, you kind of have to deal with the hell-spawn companies behind them. Most of the time I act as the middleman in this dysfunctional relationship. I accept the figurative and financial reaming to prevent Hank from making a habit of storming out of cell phone stores.
This weekend, though, she went to do battle on her own. I bit my tongue before she left, praying silently that she'd come home with a cell phone and a contract. She had been without a phone for a few days, days where I repeatedly tried to reach her and was unable to do so. I was weary of standing in the middle of a 4-story department store and yelling "Marco!" instead of being able to call her to find out what department she was in.
She entered the belly of the beast, the Sprint store, and attempted to procure a reasonable contract, the sort of thing that's only ever offered to new customers. Some time later, she stormed back out, having been deceived and screwed with.
I let her vent and then encouraged her to try again.
On the second outing she bought an iPhone. Oh, man, those things are pretty. I'm sure there will be a falling out with AT&T soon enough, but for now, we have peace in the house. And a cellphone in every pocket.
* Not actually true, unless we're talking about odor and not tones.